A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine: How Christians ought to behave themselves, in order to the Jews convers
The concern of the reformed churches for the conversion of the Jews to Christ was evident in the Notes to the Geneva Bible (1557), the Larger Catechism Question 191, What do we pray for in the second petition?, where the answer is given as:
"In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in...".
And also in the Directory of Publick Worship under the heading Of Public Prayer before the Sermon, where the direction is "to pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of Christ to all nations; for the conversion of the Jews, the fulness of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastening of the second coming of our Lord; for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of the antichristian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk; for the blessing of God upon the reformed churches...".
The English divine Thomas Fuller closed out his work A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine with a number of motivations on how a Christian ought to behave in respect of the conversion of the Jews and a prayer in respect of same. We have presented Fuller's work below.
Editor’s Note: The original work has been edited and re-formatted and it is hoped that such revisions have not detracted from the intent or meaning.
It is the proper duty of Christians, to their utmost, both by their pious examples, and faithful prayers, to endeavour the conversion of the Jews, having many motives to encourage them.
First motive from the Jews prayers for us
First, because the more knowing, and pious in the Jewish Church, did anciently desire the calling of the Gentiles, witness the solicitous care she took, and the great cost she would expend for the welfare thereof. We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts, what shall we do for our sister, in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver &c (Song of Solomon 8:8-9). For, although the common Jews accounted the calling of the Gentiles, blasphemy against their own nation, (having some carnal reason thereof, as not without cause suspicious, that the Gentiles admission would prove their expulsion, as indeed it came to pass) yet the intelligent prophets (no doubt) were earnest petitioners for the same.
Second motive from the Jews joy for us
Secondly, because such was the transcendent joy of the godly Jews, managed with silence (their hearts thereat being too big for their mouths) at the conversion of Cornelius, and his family; When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.(Acts 11:18).
Third motive from the clearing of Scripture
Lastly, because so great glory shall, by the conversion of the Jews, redound to God, and clearing to the Scriptures. Many places in the Old Testament (the meaning whereof, the Jews hitherto were too envious to teach us, or we too proud to learn of them) will then most plainly be expounded. Oh! what a feast of knowledge will it make, when both Jew and Gentile shall jointly bring in their desires thereunto! The former furnishing forth the first course with many Hebrew criticisms, and Rabbinical traditions (some of them gold amongst more dross) on the Old Testament: the latter supplying the second course on the whole Scripture, with solid interpretations, out of Fathers, Schoolmen, and Modern Divines. Oh happy day for such as shall behold it, and we all ought to pray for the speedy dawning thereof!
It will be objected, many men cannot heartily pray for the future conversion of the Jews; being unsatisfied in their judgments, of the certainty thereof: For whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23); and because they cannot ask according to the Apostle’s precept But let him ask in faith nothing wavering (James 1:6) prayers are better omitted, as which may prove prejudicial to themselves, and nothing effectual for others.
It is safest for such to insert conditional clauses in their prayers, if it may stand with God’s good will and pleasure, used by the best men in their petitions:Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean. Such wary reservations will not be interpreted in the Court of Heaven, want of faith, but store of humility, in such particulars where such persons have no plenary assurance of God’s pleasure. Yea, grant the worst, that God never intended the future conversion of the Jews, yet whilst he hath not revealed the contrary (as in the case of Samuel’s mourning for Saul) all men’s charitable desires herein, cannot but be acceptable to the God of heaven.
Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews
O Lord who art righteous in all thy ways, and holy in all thy works, we acknowledge, and admire the justice of thy proceedings, in blinding, and hardening the Jews; as for their manifold impieties; so especially for stoning thy prophets, despising thy Word, and crucifying the Lord of life. For which thou has caused them, according to the prediction of thy Prophet (Hosea 3:4), to abide many days without a King, and without a Prince, and without a Sacrifice, and without an image, and without an Ephod, and without Teraphim. But thou O Lord how long? How O Lord holy and true? How long Lord, will thou be angry for ever? Thine anger is said to endure but a moment, but Lord how many millions of millions of moments, are contained in sixteen hundred years, since thou hast first cast off thy first and ancient people the Jews? Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not for any merit in their persons, which was none, but for the mercy in thy promises, which is infinite, so frequently made, and so solemnly confirmed unto them. But oh! remember the Orator on thy right hand, Christ Jesus our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh (Rom 1:3), and the Orator in thine own bosom, thine essential and innate clemency, and let these prevail, if it may stand with thy good will, and pleasure, that thy people the Jews may be received into the arms of thy mercy. As once by a wilful, and woeful imprecation they drew the guilt of his blood on them and on their children (Matt 27:25): so by thy free imputation drop the merit of his blood on them, and on their children. For the speeding of whose conversion, be pleased to compose the many different judgments of Christians into one truth, to unite their disagreeing affections in one love, that our examples may no longer discourage, but invite them to the embracing of the true Religion. Oh mollify the hearts, rectify the wills, unveil the eyes, unstop the ears of those thy people whom hitherto thou has justly hardened. Reveal to their understanding those Oracles which thou hast committed to their keeping. That so our Saviour, who long since hath been a light to lighten the Gentiles, may in thy time be the glory of thy people Israel, that so there may be one shepherd and one sheepfold. Grant this O Lord for Christ Jesus his sake, to whom, with Thee, and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, now, and forever, Amen.